The Complete Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe Including Essays on Poetry

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 155

blackness
and corruption, to my sad and solemn slumbers with the worm.

And here in the prison-house which has few secrets to disclose, there
rolled away days and weeks and months; and the soul watched narrowly
each second as it flew, and, without effort, took record of its
flight--without effort and without object.

A year passed. The consciousness of _being_ had grown hourly more
indistinct, and that of mere _locality_ had in great measure usurped
its position. The idea of entity was becoming merged in that of
_place_. The narrow space immediately surrounding what had been the
body was now growing to be the body itself. At length, as often
happens to the sleeper (by sleep and its world alone is _Death_
imaged)--at length, as sometimes happened on Earth to the deep
slumberer, when some flitting light half startled him into awaking,
yet left him half enveloped in dreams--so to me, in the strict embrace
of the _Shadow_, came _that_ light which alone might have had power to
startle--the light of enduring _Love_. Men toiled at the grave in
which I lay darkling. They upthrew the damp earth. Upon my mouldering
bones there descended the coffin of Una. And now again all was void.
That nebulous light had been extinguished. That feeble thrill had
vibrated itself into quiescence. Many _lustra_ had supervened. Dust
had returned to dust. The worm had food no more. The sense of being
had at length utterly departed, and there reigned in its stead--
instead of all things, dominant and perpetual--the autocrats _Place_
and _Time._ For _that_ which _was not_--for that which had no
form--for that which had no thought--for that which had no
sentience--for that which was soundless, yet of which matter formed no
portion--for all this nothingness, yet for all this immortality, the
grave was still a home, and the corrosive hours, co-mates.



[Footnote 1:

"It will be hard to discover a better [method of education] than that
which the experience of so many ages has already discovered; and this
may be summed up as consisting in gymnastics for the body, and
_music_ for the soul."

Repub. lib. 2.

"For this reason is a musical education most essential; since it
causes Rhythm

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into everyday life--the hideous dropping off of the veil.
Page 1
The writer spoke of acute bodily illness--of a mental disorder which oppressed him--and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady.
Page 2
Yet all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation.
Page 3
Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene.
Page 4
He entered, at some length, into what he conceived to be the nature of his malady.
Page 5
only garments of certain texture; the odours of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror.
Page 6
And thus, as a closer and still closer intimacy admitted me more unreservedly into the recesses of his spirit, the more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at cheering a mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured forth upon all objects of the moral and physical universe, in one unceasing radiation of gloom.
Page 7
A small picture presented the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls, smooth, white, and without interruption or device.
Page 8
III.
Page 9
V.
Page 10
This opinion, in its general form, was that of the sentience of all vegetable things.
Page 11
The result was discoverable, he added, in that silent, yet importunate and terrible influence which for centuries had moulded the destinies of his family, and which made him what I now saw him--what he was.
Page 12
We replaced and screwed down the lid, and, having secured the door of iron, made our way, with toil, into the scarcely less gloomy apartments of the upper portion of the house.
Page 13
He roamed from chamber to chamber with hurried, unequal, and objectless step.
Page 14
through the apartment.
Page 15
Here, it will be remembered, the words of the narrative run thus: "And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now mighty withal, on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had drunken, waited no longer to hold parley with the hermit, who, in sooth, was of an obstinate and maliceful turn, but, feeling the rain upon his shoulders, and fearing the rising of the tempest, uplifted his mace outright, and, with blows, made quickly room in the plankings of the door for his gauntleted hand; and now pulling therewith sturdily, he so cracked, and ripped, and tore all asunder, that the noise of the dry and hollow-sounding wood alarmed and reverberated throughout the forest.
Page 16
Oppressed, as I certainly was, upon the occurrence of the second and most extraordinary coincidence, by a thousand conflicting sensations, in which wonder and extreme terror were predominant, I still retained sufficient presence of mind to avoid exciting, by any observation, the sensitive nervousness of my companion.
Page 17
"Not hear it?--yes, I hear it, and have heard it.
Page 18
While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher".